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Title: Stable isotopes unveil habitat partitioning among the marine mammals off NW Africa and reveal unique trophic niches for two globally threatened species.
Author: Pinela, A. M.
Borrell Thió, Assumpció
Cardona Pascual, Luis
Aguilar, Àlex
Keywords: Mamífers marins
Biologia de poblacions
Biologia marina
Animals en perill d'extinció
Marine mammals
Population biology
Marine biology
Rare animals
Issue Date: 14-Oct-2010
Publisher: Inter-Research
Abstract: Stable isotope abundances of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) in the bone of 13 species of marine mammals from the northwest coast of Africa were investigated to assess their positions in the local trophic web and their preferred habitats. Also, samples of primary producers and potential prey species from the study area were collected to characterise the local isotopic landscape. This characterisation indicated that δ13C values increased from offshore to nearshore and that δ15N was a good proxy for trophic level. Therefore, the most coastal species were Monachus monachus and Sousa teuszii, whereas the most pelagic were Physeter macrocephalus and Balaenoptera acutorostrata. δ15N values indicated that marine mammals located at the lowest trophic level were B. acutorostrata, Stenella coeruleoalba and Delphinus sp., and those occupying the highest trophic level were M. monachus and P. macrocephalus. The trophic level of Orcinus orca was similar to that of M. monachus, suggesting that O. orca preys on fish. Conservation of coastal and threatened species (M. monachus and S. teuszii) off NW Africa should be a priority because these species, as the main apex predators, cannot be replaced by other marine mammals.
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It is part of: Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2010, vol. 416, p. 295-306
Related resource:
ISSN: 0171-8630
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals)

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